Epigenetic changes can affect Health and Longevity but is Reversible
Velandy Manohar, MD., Distinguished Life Fellow, Am. Psychiatric Association
About Epigenetics | Johns Hopkins Institute of Genetic Medicine (hopkinsmedicine.org)
McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine | Department of Genetic Medicine > Patient Care > Genetics Clinics > epigenetics-chromatin-clinic
Overview of Genetics and Epigenetics
Genetics refers to the study of genes, which make up our genetic material (DNA). Each gene is a set of instructions (code) to make a protein that performs specific functions in the body. Changes to a gene’s code are called mutations. Mutations can prevent a protein from functioning correctly, thus causing a genetic disorder or medical condition.
Although every cell has a complete set of genes, only some genes are used, or “expressed.” Genes can be switched on or off, causing one cell to be a brain cell and another to be a bone cell. In cells, the DNA is wound around histones, and together, the DNA and histones are called chromatin. Chemical groups on the DNA and histones are called chromatin marks. Chromatin marks switch genes on and off. Some chromatin marks switch genes off by tightening the DNA around histones; other chromatin marks switch genes on by loosening it. These changes are epigenetic as opposed to genetic because the DNA code is not changed. Epigenetic changes can cause medical conditions by changing how genes are used and whether they are turned on or off correctly.
Two types of epigenetic disorders are imprinting disorders and Mendelian disorders of the epigenetic machinery (MDEMs). Imprinting disorders result directly from disrupted epigenetic or chromatin marks. An example of an imprinting disorder is Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome. This is different from genetic mutations (described above) that cause medical conditions by changing the DNA code. Sometimes, genetic mutations can indirectly disrupt epigenetic or chromatin marks if the mutations affect genes that determine these marks. These genes are called epigenetic machinery genes, and mutations in these genes cause MDEMs. Examples of MDEMs are Kabuki syndrome and Sotos syndrome. Experts in our multidisciplinary Epigenetics and Chromatin Clinic help diagnose and develop treatment plans for people with both types of epigenetic disorders.
An Analogy for Genetics and Epigenetics
A helpful comparison is to think of the DNA sequence as the letters that form words in a book. The book represents the genome (all the DNA). Each word in the book represents a gene. Some epigenetic marks highlight words that should be read (the genes that should be turned on) at a given time. Other epigenetic marks strike through words that should not be read (genes that should be turned off) at a given time. Abnormal epigenetic marks are like highlighting or striking through the wrong word(s). Genetic mutations are like misspellings of a word. In all cases, the meaning of the words in the book is altered. This has negative consequences in the form of medical conditions. The medical conditions can be divided into two groups. The first group results from abnormal epigenetic marks (highlighting or striking through the wrong words). The second group results from mutations in the DNA code (misspelling a word).
NOTE: Epigenetic testing can tell us if our Biological Age is older than our Chronological Age. An additional 5 years can have significant shortening of life. The Epigenetic testing signals the need to take remediation measures to promote healthy life style to reverse DNA methylation and restore a parity between chronological and biological age. [More on this and Telomere testing follows.VM]
Note: I used to emphasize this fact in my treatment to both my patients [as well as their family members] and my Team members as well as providing Health promotion and Treatment Recommendations which have graphics and illustrations that illustrate the interplay between Bio-Psycho- Endocrine- Neuro-Immunological systems including the very powerful Neuro-Endocrine and Immunological influences produced by the Gut Microbiome which has pervasive effect on systemic inflammatory processes that under lie many illnesses including those that can cause Epigenetic Changes as well as Telomeric Shortening over time and shorten lives and increase morbidity and PPYLL. Potential Productive years of life lost. Efforts to address PPYLL is very important to be made part of the treatment and can be successful in achieving this goal when we address Epigenetic damage due to toxic methylation and accelerated Biological aging
Measuring DNA Methylation Age (openai.com)
Measuring DNA Methylation Age
June 17, 2023
How do you measure aging with methylation of DNA?
Measuring aging through DNA methylation involves analyzing changes in the patterns of DNA methylation at specific sites in the genome. The most commonly used method for this is called DNA methylation age estimation or epigenetic clock. It compares the methylation patterns of certain genes or regions with a reference dataset to estimate a person's biological age.
The Horvath clock and the Hannum clock are two well-known epigenetic clocks that use DNA methylation data to estimate age. These clocks are developed using statistical models that correlate DNA methylation patterns with chronological age. By comparing an individual's methylation patterns to the clock, it's possible to estimate their biological age, which may differ from their actual chronological age.
Keep in mind that while DNA methylation-based clocks provide valuable insights into biological aging, they are not definitive measures of aging and should be interpreted within the context of other physiological and lifestyle factors. This data follows.
Telomere and Epigenetic Testing - Alternity Healthcare
Healthy Life style can reverse the Epigenetic impact caused by Unhealthy Life Style that can shorten an individual’s life. Thus, our aging and the excess Biological Age over the Chronological Age, suggesting accelerated Aging is Reversible and rate of aging is within our control to tangible effect.
Keep in mind that while DNA methylation-based clocks provide valuable insights into biological aging, they are not definitive measures of aging and should be interpreted within the context of other physiological and lifestyle factors.
There is an useful illustration on how ones Life’s style can impact Epigenetic aging which can impact health and longevity
Risk factors actors and environmental factors can impact how our genes perform.
What is Epigenetic Testing?
• Epigenetic testing is the most accurate, revolutionary, biological age predictor. Biological age is a measurement of your age, based on various biomarkers.
• Using state-of-the-art technology and a powerful algorithm, we are able to look at specific locations on your DNA, allowing us to predict your biological age!
• Epigenetic Testing is now available at Alternity Healthcare or can be delivered straight to your doorstep!
How can I Determine my Biological Age?
Everyone knows their chronological age. Chronological age is the number of candles that are on top of your cake and the birthdays you celebrate (or sometimes don’t!). However, developments in science have created another measurement of age called biologic or epigenetic age. Unlike chronological age, this measurement of age is based on years of statistical research and provides much more relevant health information. It can tell us how healthy you are and even when you might pass away. Epigenetic Testing uses biomarkers on your DNA called methylation.
This test involves providing a small blood sample!
Your biological age is more accurate at predicting health span (how healthy you are) and lifespan (how long you will live) than any previous molecular biomarker and can be correlated to almost any health factor such as physical fitness, socioeconomic status, and drug use history. Ideally, everyone would want their biological age to be less than their chronological age. This means that you are living a lifestyle that is healthy and will help you stay free of sickness and disease longer! If you could reverse your risk of age-related disease and avoid sickness, wouldn’t you want to know how?
How can I Control my Biological Age?
Risk factors including lifestyle factors and environmental factors can impact how our genes perform.
• Alcohol Consumption
• Physical Activity
• Working Habits
Your biological age can be reversed, so it is crucial to understand DNA methylation changes through utilizing Epigenetic testing. Since we know that it can be reversed, we can apply changes to our lifestyles and use Epigenetic tests to show that we are reducing YOUR risk of incidence of disease and death. Epigenetic testing is just the beginning of diagnostic predictors of disease, but it is one that is linked to all outcomes! By providing more data about your health history to us and our team, we are able to develop tests to predict risks but also see which interventions most reduce this risk. If you reduce the incidence of aging by 7 years, you could cut the incidence of disease in half. We want to do this for our family members, our friends, and the world… but we need your help to do it!
True Personalized Medicine
Most importantly, this gives you a tool to directly look at health span and lifespan, without having to wait 40 years to look at the epidemiology data. The reason this science is so exciting is now you can see if a therapy is working for your own body, immediately! This is true personalized medicine!
What about checking Telomeres?
Telomere length and Epigenetics are independent predictors of age and mortality risk estimated by the Hannum clock . A comparative review of different molecular age estimators concluded that DNA methylation is the most promising biomarker for age- and age-related disease . Telomere length explains fewer of the variances in age compared to the epigenetic clock, but using both measures provides useful information for an individual.
How is this different from genetics?
Epi – is a greek prefix for “above”. Genetics is the study of our DNA. Together, epigenetics means the study of things above and beyond the genome. This means we are studying the changes to your DNA and how it actually affects the body instead of what the DNA could possibly do or mean. It is often more useful than genetics because it allows us to see how the genetic material in your body behaves instead of just seeing what it contains. Traditional genetics is like looking at a light bulb and its components but not knowing if the bulb is producing light. Epigenetics lets us know if the light bulb is on or off.
The link between Epigenetics and health has been linked through biological age. This is important because aging is THE leading risk factor for multiple chronic diseases and disorders. Therefore, finding a way to slow the biological aging process is essential. Through epigenetics, we can do just that. Our epigenetic clock is the most accurate measurement of biological age and age-related disease risk!
FACT: 60% of your DNA and how your genes are expressed CAN be modified. Epigenetic aging can be reversed, so it is crucial to understand DNA methylation changes through utilizing epigenetics. Since we know that aging can be reversed, we can apply changes to our lifestyles and use Epigenetic testing to show that we are reducing YOUR risk of incidence ofge. This means that you are living a lifestyle that is healthy and will help you stay free of sickness and disease longer! If you could reverse your risk of age-related disease and avoid sickness, wouldn’t you want to know how?
Velandy Manohar, MD.,
Distinguished Life Fellow, Am. Psychiatric Society.